||[Nov. 13th, 2005|12:08 pm]
Sky are beaming in the Test match from Pakistan. That's why I'm late writing this. I got up, made breakfast and went straight to the TV set to catch the tail-end of the second day's play.|
The light in Pakistan has that powdery quality you only get in hot, dry countries. The sun falls fast. The light goes orange. A powdery orange.
Ailz sits next to me, pedalling away on her exercise bike. Bunny lollops round our feet. Marcus Trescothick removes his helmet and a little Niagara of sweat comes running off its peak.
England are playing just like they did against the Aussies. We're going to win this series. Marcus Trescothick, standing in as captain for the injured Vaughan, ends the day on 133 not out.
There's a group of about twenty Asian guys in the stands, parading backwards and forwards with an outsize Union Jack. I guess they must be British Asians, supporting their adopted country against their country of origin. It warms my heart. British multiculturalism is working no matter what commentators, rattled by the riots in France, are saying.
I'm not normally given to patriotic outbursts, but right now I'm feeling good about us. Rule Britannia- land of crumpets and curry!
I prefer a chicken ticka to a kedgeree any day... :-)
And multiculturalism isn't quite working in Britain (yet), but there isn't really an acceptable alternative, is there? We'll get there completely in time, but we're still on our way. (hehe... Just noticed I wrote "we" about Britain... Yup; I'm another one of those pesky foreigners who just dream of going to Britain and steal your jobs and your men!)
Well, no, nothing's perfect...
But I'm forced to conclude that our way is better than the French way. Whenever we've had riots in Britain it's never been very long before they fizzled out and the talking began.
Hey, you can steal as many of our men as you want. See how generous I am!
The French have ignored the banlieues for many years. England doesn't have ghettos in the same way at all, even if there is a certain number of disenfranchised members in British society.
I went out into some of the "tough" suburbs while I lived in Paris, simply to see what it was like out there. (Horrid to be a "tourist" in such an area, really, but it's as valid a sight as the Eiffel Tower if you want to know France, n'est-ce pas?) And it was grim. In 1995 Chirac talked about doing something about it, but 10 years on nothing much has really happened. It won't be easy, and it won't be cheap, but France really needs to stop ignoring a fairly large segment of the population if they want to move on.
Sadly, recent polls suggest that up to 20-25% of the French population think Le Pen might be the man to do something about the situation. That's just horrible. (And, of course, Denmark is as bad with our Danish People's Party... I'm not saying that France is alone in having a rather unpleasant political climate! France, Italy, Denmark, Austria; it's throughout Europe, it seems.)
I live in a town that has experienced race riots. It also has ghettoes. In fact I live at the interface of two of them- Glodwick, which is Asian and West Indian, and Fitton Hill, which is white.
But, I dunno, there's an effort being made to get the communities to mix. And last time I checked I'm pretty certain we had an Asian mayor.
All I know of France are the pretty bits. But I was struck, last time I motored through, by just how vast the agricultural hinterland is. I think some of the difference between the two cultures may having something to do with Britain being predominantly urban and France predominantly rural.
Oh, I know Oldham has seen its fair share of trouble... But still; the trenches in society don't seem as deep as in France.
Anyway; rabid nationalism and bigotry is just not cricket! :-)
I know nothing about cricket, but I love your image of home life.
Cricket is the most complicated game on the planet. My understanding of it is no more than superficial, but I'm learning...
I guess they must be British Asians, supporting their adopted country against their country of origin.
I remember during the 1980s after Norman Tebbitt's infamous "cricket test" comment, British Asians supporting the visiting cricket team (I can't remember whether it was India or Pakistan). A journalist asked them to comment about the "cricket test". The response: "What could be more British than to support the underdog?"
Very smart answer.
And true too. If a British team (in whatever sport) gets trounced by a supposedly weaker opponent I'm cheering.